Creating a long term food supply is one of the basic steps a beginner prepper will undertake. More often than not, storing foods such as rice, grains, and other dry goods will be sealed in mylar bags and 5-gallon food safe buckets. There are a few precautions you need to take into consideration when preparing food for long term storage; they are oxygen content, moisture content, and vermin infestation.
Before you can start, you will need enough 5-gallon food grade buckets for your project, a gasket lid for each bucket, at least 4 500c oxygen absorbers per bucket, regular household clothes iron, a piece of wood, a rubber mallet and of course mylar bags. Mylar bags usually come in different sizes but the 20×30 inch bag is the most popular. These materials are enough to preserve at least 40-45 pounds of any dry grain so measure accordingly. The best place I have found to purchase all the supplies is [easyazon_link keywords=”food storage supplies” locale=”US” tag=”hpgen-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link].
First take a mylar bag and put it in the bucket. Open the bag and pour in your choice of dry grain into the mylar bags. Dry grains can be rice, wheat, corn or even bulk pastas. As you pour the food in make sure you shake the bag at intervals to ensure the grain gets into all the nooks and crannies. This helps in saving space so you can fit as much food as possible into the mylar bag. 40 pounds of rice or grains will fill up the bucket leaving about an inch from to the lip of the bucket.
Before adding in the oxygen absorbers, you need to seal the two ends of the bag leaving a hole in the middle. The reason for this is to ensure that you have evacuated as much air as possible from the bag. If you try to seal the bag all at once in one long seal, the bag tends to cramp at one end. To seal the ends you need to place the wooden rod at the top of the bucket and roll the now void upper region of the mylar bag around it. Make sure it straightens out and there are no cramps.
Take a hot regular iron and pass it over both ends of the bag using the rod as your ironing board. Leave a 2-inch gap at the center. Cut open the oxygen absorber package and remove 4 oxygen absorbers. Ensure that you reseal the package as soon as you remove the oxygen absorbers you will be using. This ensures that the other oxygen absorbers are not left exposed for too long.
Slip the 4 oxygen absorbers through the 2-inch gap pushing them down to the grain. Use the wooden rod as before to now seal the gap. Ensure you align the rod to previous seals. This means you will have a nice full seal about half an inch thick depending on the diameter of the rod you used.
Let the oxygen absorbers go to work sucking in all the oxygen left inside the bag. About 12 hours after sealing you will notice a â€œsucking inâ€ as the bag collapses and hugs the grain. Leave it for more hours to ensure that your seal is indeed working. If the bag does not collapse inwards to hug the grain indicating that air has been evacuated, you will need to repeat the process all over again.
Finally, take the gasket lid and close the bucket. Using a rubber mallet hit the lid along the edges all around the bucket to ensure that the gasket lid closes tightly over the bucket.
After closing the lid, affix a label to the bucket with the date, weight and contents.